Xavier Jared


Two brothers on personal development, philosophy, and being awesome

Is Nutella A Good Breakfast?


Intuitively, what do you think is a healthier breakfast: Fruit with muesli, or a hazelnut spread on white bread? Don’t read the labels, don’t think about glycaemic indexes, just go with your gut.

Of course, the correct answer is the fruit. (Semantic side note: this is the actual advice Nutella gives too so they can’t be accused of lying, but it’s well obscured in their words.) Nutella have a vested interest in convincing you that their product is a healthy choice, because it gives you the justification you need to buy it.

This is well understood territory. Every piece of advice has a driving interest. Even I have a vested interest in writing this article. The optimist would suggest I am really driven to helping you make better decisions and become more awesome. The cynic might argue I’m a raving lunatic vegan hippy who harbours a raging hatred of big corporations. Either way, you need to think about where the interests of the person or company advising you lie, and evaluate the advice in that context.

When Nestle claim Milo is a superior nutritional sports drink, do you trust them? When Jenny Craig says the best way to lose weight is to buy their products, do you trust them? When Ferrero suggest that Nutella is good for breakfast, do you trust them?

The obvious answer is “no, never trust anyone who has something to gain”, but that’s a bit too conspiratorial for my liking. It’s an easy rule of thumb, but following it you are rarely granted an opportunity to trust anyone. If you can’t trust anyone you will have to figure out everything for yourself, and that is just not feasible. A better option is to develop your intuition in areas that are important to you.

Develop Your Intuition

I would be surprised if you didn’t agree that fruit and muesli was healthier, but less surprised if you still felt Nutella was an acceptable option. This occurs when your intuition is not developed enough for you to be able to trust it, and so you accept the marketer’s claims alongside your own. You assume they have science on their side, that they are good corporate citizens, and that there are laws around this sort of thing (there are, but they’re far weaker than your intuition probably tells you).

If you know nothing about food, then your intuition about it will not be very good. Marketers know and exploit this fact, and without consciously developing your food intuition, health claims made on food products will sound reasonable. If you have a primary interest in food however, such as losing weight, feeling less tired, or leading a healthy life, then you owe it to yourself to learn more about the topic to develop your instinct.

Intuition isn’t something you either have or you don’t; everyone is intuitive. You will have different levels of intuition on different topics, depending on your knowledge and experience in those topics. By accumulating knowledge and accruing experiences you supply your subconscious with the material it needs to fuel your intuitive sense.

Personally, my intuition about food and computers is high because I’ve been involved in those fields for years, but for cars or fashion it is very low—yours will be different. I don’t have time to thoroughly investigate every choice I make, but “they said it was good” is too lazy a justification for the central pillars of my life. Develop your intuition so that you are able to trust it in matters that are important to you.

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